The Falkland Islands are English-speaking and have been part of the United Kingdom for generations. Although Argentina unsuccessfully tried to conquer them in 1982, they have no desire to be part of Argentina, anymore than the United States yearns to be part of Mexico. But the Obama Administration wants England to entertain just that possibility, ignoring “the principle of self-determination for the islanders.” (The islands are largely “self-governing“).
In what has been perceived in England as a stab-in-the-back, the U.S. State Department has sided with Argentina in a resolution on the Falkland Islands by the Organization of American States (OAS) backed by the anti-American rulers of Venezuela and Nicaragua. The resolution contains a draft declaration calling on England to negotiate with Argentina over ceding control of the Falkland Islands. The declaration refers to the islands by their Argentine name of the “Malvinas,” which is rejected by inhabitants of the islands.
Argentina’s military dictatorship previously invaded the Falklands in 1982, only to be ousted and defeated by the English military.
Argentina is now run by the Peronist Party, whose founder, Juan Peron openly sympathized with America’s fascist enemies in World War II, and knowingly gave refuge to fleeing Nazi war criminals. Argentina’s recent Presidents, Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, have nationalized private pensions and plundered the private sector to pay for big government and welfare schemes. The OAS declaration “comes in the wake of increasing aggression by the Kirchner regime in the past 18 months, including threats to blockade British shipping in the South Atlantic.”
Residents of the Falkland Islands have eminently sound reasons for wanting to remain in Britain, the birthplace of parliamentary democracy, rather than Argentina, which has too often been ruled by authoritarian strongmen like Peron or by military governments. The United Kingdom scores higher on international measures of property rights and the rule of law than Argentina does.
This is not the first time that the Obama Administration has acted in a way seemingly calculated to antagonize our strongest ally, the United Kingdom. Obama earlier offended the British, by returning a bust of the late Winston Churchill, and then snubbing English Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It seems foolish to antagonize a long-time ally like England, which has assisted and fought with America in many wars in recent generations, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Korea.